Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Trying to install WindowsXP in Ghana - not a swarming experience

One day my Ghanian friend asked me to look at her PC. She wanted to install new language training software, and the PC sound board did not work properly. I noticed that the sound drivers were not correctly installed, and decided to reinstall WindowsXP. At the end of the installation process, Windows asked me for my authorization code. I was working on an 18 month old HP Pavilion that my friend had bought with Windows XP preinstalled when she was still in Switzerland. When I had entered the authorization code, Windows tried to verify it over the Internet. Oops! Out of luck, as my friend did not have an Internet connection at home. Private Internet is still an expensive option in Ghana, at costs of at least about $50 per month, even over a dialup line. I was then offered a list of Microsoft phone numbers to call to verify my authorization code. Unfortunately, both phone numbers given by Microsoft for Ghana did not work. Finally, I ended up calling the Microsoft Hotline in Redmond, over my Swiss cell phone – my US cell phone does not work outside of the US. After a 20-minute session with the automated phone system, I was finally connected to a human being, who after another 15 minutes of explaining, finally verified my Windows XP authorization code, such that I could proceed in my installation.

I am not looking forward to my next cell phone bill, I doubt I can send it to Microsoft!

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